A wedding option that many people never consider is a destination wedding. The reasons that couples do not think a destination wedding can work for them might include cost, guest list, or thinking it is too complicated. A destination wedding might not be for everyone, but it is a lot more accessible than you might think!
Let’s talk about why you might want to have a destination wedding. You will have more time with guests and family. Chances are if your guests are traveling they already plan on spending a few days in the location, so it would be nice for it to be a vacation for everyone. Some resorts even offer free welcome parties and other wedding weekend events if you book a certain number of rooms.
The cost of a destination wedding might surprise you. According to The Knot the average cost of a hometown wedding in 2022 was around $30,000 and destination weddings in 2022 was roughly $35,000. Now, most destination weddings are still located in the United States like Hawaii, California, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. (Look for another blog post about domestic destination weddings soon!)
The guest list is the trickiest thing when it comes to destination weddings. Deciding how many guests is a huge factor in price, and not everyone will be able to travel. This is seen as a positive by a lot of couples who are trying to keep a lower guest count. If you are worried about the pressure of inviting every member of your extended family who you might have met once or friends you haven’t really talked to in years but occasionally see at the grocery store, then this might be a good choice to help you focus on the most important people in your life.
Now, is a destination wedding more complicated logistically? You do have to factor some different things into your planning, but there is a lot that you don’t as well. You should book an experienced wedding planner/coordinator and bonus if they are also a travel agent *cough* like Belle Behind the Ball *cough*. This will take out the complication because you will share your vision with your planner and they will make sure all those things are happening. If you are booking with a resort normally they will have different packages already so you have an idea of what is already being taken care of and your planner will be able to explain all the options to you. If you book all-inclusive then you don’t have to worry about food and drinks for the weekend. You typically get free things like even a wedding (ask us about Sandals offering free weddings if you book 5 nights or more) which is a pretty good perk.
Let’s talk about the ones that normally come to mind when we hear about destination weddings. Mexico is a very popular choice for many reasons: short flights from the United States, not very expensive, beautiful, and lots of options! You can get married in Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and so many more. A lot of all-inclusive options which honestly take a lot of stress out of your wedding weekend. Caribbean weddings have a lot of the same perks as Mexico. There are so many different places you can choose to have your wedding and so many resorts that specialize in destination weddings. The views are gorgeous, and you don’t have to have a beach wedding if that isn’t what you want. There are lots of locations that offer beautiful wedding venues not on a beach.
Europe has a lot of popular options for destination weddings like Italy and Greece. Positano and Santorini might be trendy, but there are lots of other great European locations for weddings that are just as magical without the cost of the European celebrity weddings that we keep seeing in the magazines (like Sophia Richie’s stunning April 2023 wedding in France). The couple might choose a destination based on a connection they share with the location which makes it even more special that they invite their family and friends to experience it with them.
Destination weddings are not as complicated as people might think, the location might help with the guest list, and the cost can be less than many American weddings. It all comes down to what the couple wants. This is just a brief look at destination weddings outside of the United States but check out our other blog posts about destination weddings!